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Saints hammered by Gloucester but Lions have Biggar concerns

By PA

Trending on RugbyPass

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Northampton wasted the opportunity to move into the top four after suffering their heaviest home defeat to Gloucester in the Premiership when they went down 31-7.

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Lions head coach Warren Gatland was among the spectators and he saw one of his outside-halves, Dan Biggar, suffer concussion in the opening quarter.

Gatland was assessing players for his standby list and forwards David Ribbans and Ryan Ackermann, South Africans qualified to play for England through residency, were on show.

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Ribbans was quick to make his mark, thwarting a driving maul as it neared Northampton’s line before flattening prop Val Ruskin.

Northampton had won eight of their previous 11 Premiership matches, but they failed to muster a shot in the opening half and were fortunate to be only 10 points down at the interval.

The Saints lost four of their seven line-outs and conceded 10 penalties, failing to visit Gloucester’s 22.

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Biggar lasted 19 minutes before hitting his head on the shoulder of Billy Twelvetrees as the pair scrambled for a loose ball.

His departure forced Northampton into a reshuffle behind with George Furbank moving to 10, Tommy Freeman taking over at full-back and Taqele Naiyaravoro coming off the bench onto the wing.

The Saints were already 10 points down. Twelvetrees kicked an early penalty before Gloucester fashioned the best move of the afternoon after kicking a penalty to touch.

They set up one phase after the line-out near halfway and centre Mark Atkinson looked outside before passing inside to the wing Santiago Carreras.

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The Argentinian ran towards the home 22 and as the defence desperately scrambled back, he freed Louis Rees-Zammit and the youngest member of the Lions squad left Furbank clutching air.

Whatever was said at half-time in the Northampton changing room made no difference. Furbank’s kick-off went out of play on the full and the Saints were penalised at the subsequent scrum.

Penned deep in their own half, Furbank attempted a chip into space for the wrong Matt Proctor but it bounced kindly for the Gloucester flanker Jordy Reid and two passes later Ed Slater scored.

Gloucester had only won one of their previous 11 away Premiership matches, but Northampton’s recent home record was little better, three wins in 13.

A Twelvetrees penalty and a Jack Singleton try made it comfortable for the visitors before Rees-Zammit’s try garnished the victory with a bonus point.

Proctor’s nudge into the face of Rees-Zammit after the try sparked a brawl which left Piers Francis and Carreras with a walk to the sin-bin.

Tom Seabrook quickly followed for a deliberate knock-on seconds after coming on and Henry Taylor’s try ensured the Saints did not fail to score at home in the Premiership for the first time.

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Saints hammered by Gloucester but Lions have Biggar concerns

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